High School Pura Vida Club to Host ‘Feed My Starving Children Food Packing’ Event


The Pura Vida club at New Canaan High School helps students become aware of children in need by participating in a series of events throughout the year to provide for specific groups’ financial needs. Next weekend, June 6 and 7, the Pura Vida club, along with many other community members will be participating in its Annual Feed My Starving Children Food Packing Event held in the New Canaan High School cafeteria.


The Pura Vida Feed My Starving Food Packing event works to help feed children in over 70 countries. After the meals are given to those in need, Feed My Starving Children has volunteers that stay within the community to make sure that the children receiving the meals are getting the food that they need by having them weighed every three months. Photo contributed by Pura Vida.

The club, run through the nonprofit Pura Vida for Children, is partnering with Feed My Starving Children, an organization that helps feed the world’s hungry. Within the past year, the club has raised $44,000 and is putting this money toward 200,000 meals that they plan to assemble with the help of about 1,000 volunteers in the community.

Pura Vida for Children founder Sharon Knechtle said she is excited and thankful for all of the volunteers to come out next Saturday and Sunday.

“I’d say a huge ‘thank you’ for coming and getting these meals packed. It really does take hundreds of us to get it done,” Knechtle said. “I think it shows that people really care and want to make a difference and do something to help kids that our hungry. So, it’s a fun way, and we’ve really gotten the whole community involved. It’s not just high school kids, it’s also families. There are a lot of young sports teams that come, little league baseball teams or whatever, and a lot of the churches this year are sending volunteers.”


The Pura Vida Club puts on different events throughout the year to raise money for the food packing event. At each event leading up to it, high school students raise about $2,000 to $3,000. Photo contributed by Pura Vida.

Knechtle started the Pura Vida for Children organization in 2005, after she and her oldest son visited Costa Rica. They learned about all of the kids in the country living in the streets and eating out of garbage cans. “On the way home on the plane we were just like ‘oh my god we can’t not do something about this,’” Knechtle told the NewCanaanite.

The two came up with a plan to found Pura Vida for Children and started with service trips down to Costa Rica.

“Every year I would take a group of New Canaan High School kids down. [To raise money before we went] we would do things like having tags sales and I remember the first year we had a tag sale I think we raised something like $6,000 and then we would go down there and work with the kids and help a single mom with her worn-down house and make it better.”

It wasn’t until after a trip Knechtle took with her third son, Ian, and his friends came back from a service trip in Costa Rica that they realized that traveling to the foreign country once a year wasn’t going to be enough. “They came back and were like ‘we don’t want to wait until next summer to do something to help kids,’” Knechtle said. “So they came up with the idea of starting a club at the high school.”

Since Knechtle’s son and his friends started the club at the high school, the club has put on numerous events throughout the years such as dodgeball, flag football, and volleyball tournaments, as well as holiday events such as holiday mailbox decorating and bakes sales. Money has also been raised through a summer sports camp. Although the club focuses on raising awareness through the Feed My Starving Children organization, the organization as a whole also works with two other non-profit organizations: Love146, an organization out of New Haven that works with child sex trafficking, and Roblealto, a Costa Rican organization that rescues kids off of the streets.

“I never dreamed that the club would keep going once I didn’t have kids at the high school, but every year they have it,” Knechtle said. “It’s certainly not as big as it was when my boys were still there, but there’s always good kids. These kids keep saying ‘please we want to keep it going next year.’”

All of the money that the high school’s Pura Vida club has raised throughout the year will benefit the mobile food packing event next weekend. The meals that will be packed are worth 22 cents each, and will be sent around the world to children in need of a meal.

“[Feed My Starving Children] targets areas in the world where there is corruption and lack of resources, where starvation is taking the lives of people,” Knechtle said. “I know that the first year that we started packing the meals was the year of the Haiti earthquake so I know that for the first couple of years I think that all of our food went to Haiti. But, [Feed My Starving Children] is all over [in 70 countries].”

Knechtle sees a difference being made by this high school club and hopes that the event will be as great of a success as it has been in the past. By Sunday night, she hopes to have a couple hundred thousand meals packed thanks to all of the volunteers that have already signed up.

“I would just like to add how proud I am of these high school students,” Knechtle said. “Most of the kids that have really hung in there and stayed helping Pura Vida are clearly kids that want to help those in need. [They] have so many options to do with their time and I think its great that they choose to stick around and help kids. I just want to put a shoutout to them for how awesome they’ve been and they keep doing it.”

You can donate to Pura Vida for Children and Feed My Starving Children. You can also sign up for a shift at the event next weekend here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *